Since 1826 Cowes Week has played a key part in the British sporting summer calendar and is one of the UK’s longest-running and most successful sporting events. It now stages up to 40 daily races for around 1,000 boats and is the largest sailing regatta of its kind in the world.
The event offers a great mix of competitive sailing and social activities. The 8,500 competitors range from Olympic and world-class professionals to weekend sailors. Over 100,000 spectators come to watch the sailing, enjoy the parties and live entertainment, and experience the unique atmosphere. It is genuinely a one-of-a-kind event.
Although the regatta is over 180 years old, it is recently that the Week has become an integrated series of races organised by a single body. During the post-war era, each day of racing was run by a different Cowes or Solent mainland club. Every club printed their own sailing instructions and ran their own programme for the day.
By 1964 however, the clubs had realised that there were significant benefits in having one central body to coordinate the racing. They agreed to combine resources and establish Cowes Combined Clubs (CCC) to run the racing as a single organisation. CCC has 9 members: 8 yacht clubs and the Cowes Town Regatta committee.
On each day of the regatta, one or two clubs present their own trophies. CCC members work as a team to organise and provide the race management for the week.
In 1995 Cowes Week Sponsorship Ltd. was formed to manage the sponsorship and shore-side aspects of the event. This operated in parallel with the activities of CCC.
In November 2007, Cowes Week Ltd (wholly owned by CCC) was formed to provide a single management board for the event with overall responsibility for policy decisions and determining strategic direction.
This ensures that the business operation of both the shore-side and racing elements are managed in a more streamlined way. CWL is serviced on a day to day basis by the Executive Management Team, with input from the committee structure.